IN THE MATTER OF CHRISTIAN C.-B. AND KNOAH L. C.-B.
CHRISTOPHER.B., AND RENEE E.C., RESPONDENTS-APPELLANTS. LIVINGSTON COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, PETITIONER-RESPONDENT;
ERICKSON WEBB SCOLTON & HAJDU, LAKEWOOD (LYLE T. HAJDU OF
COUNSEL), FOR RESPONDENT-APPELLANT CHRISTOPHER V.B.
BRIDGET L. FIELD, ROCHESTER, FOR RESPONDENT-APPELLANT RENEE
T. SYLVESTER, MT. MORRIS, FOR PETITIONER-RESPONDENT.
A. RUMI, ATTORNEY FOR THE CHILDREN, ROCHESTER.
PRESENT: WHALEN, P.J., SMITH, CARNI, LINDLEY, AND NEMOYER,
from an order of the Family Court, Livingston County (Robert
B. Wiggins, J.), entered November 24, 2015 in a proceeding
pursuant to Social Services Law § 384-b. The order,
among other things, terminated respondents' parental
hereby ORDERED that said appeal by respondent Christopher
V.B. is unanimously dismissed and the order is affirmed
In this permanent neglect proceeding pursuant to Family Court
Act article 6 and Social Services Law § 384-b,
respondent parents appeal from an order terminating their
parental rights. Initially, we note that the father's
sole contention on appeal is that Family Court erred in
denying the mother's request for a suspended judgment.
With respect "to the determination of the mother's
parental rights . . . [the father] cannot be considered an
aggrieved party, and [thus] his appeal must be
dismissed" (Matter of Vivian OO., 33 A.D.3d
1096, 1096; see Matter of Charle C.E. [Chiedu E.],
129 A.D.3d 721, 721-722; see also Matter of Terrance M.
[Terrance M., Sr.], 75 A.D.3d 1147, 1147).
appeal, the mother initially contends that petitioner failed
to establish that it had exercised diligent efforts to
encourage and strengthen the parent-child relationship while
she was incarcerated, as required by Social Services Law
§ 384-b (7) (a). We reject that contention.
"Diligent efforts include reasonable attempts at
providing counseling, scheduling regular visitation with the
child[ren], providing services to the parent to overcome
problems that prevent the discharge of the child[ren] into
[his or her] care, and informing the parent of [the
children's] progress" (Matter of Jessica Lynn
W., 244 A.D.2d 900, 900-901; see § 384-b  [f]).
Petitioner is not required, however, to "guarantee that
the parent succeed in overcoming his or her
predicaments" (Matter of Sheila G., 61 N.Y.2d
368, 385; see Matter of Jamie M., 63 N.Y.2d 388,
393). Rather, the parent must "assume a measure of
initiative and responsibility" (Jamie M., 63 N.Y.2d at
393). Here, petitioner established, by the requisite clear
and convincing evidence (see § 384-b  [g] [i]), that
it fulfilled its duty to exercise diligent efforts to
encourage and strengthen the mother's relationships with
her children (see generally Matter of Star Leslie
W., 63 N.Y.2d 136, 142). For instance, petitioner
established that it arranged visitation between the mother
and the subject children, transported the children to those
visits, "explored the planning resources suggested by
[the mother, ] and kept [her] apprised of the
child[ren]'s progress" (Matter of "Male
C.", 22 A.D.3d 250, 250; see Matter of Davianna
L. [David R.], 128 A.D.3d 1365, 1365, lv denied 25
N.Y.3d 914; Matter of Mya B. [William B.], 84 A.D.3d
1727, 1727-1728, lv denied 17 N.Y.3d 707). Thus, "given
the circumstances, [petitioner] provided what services it
could" (Matter of Curtis N., 290 A.D.2d 755,
758, lv dismissed 97 N.Y.2d 749).
to the further contention of the mother, the court properly
concluded that she permanently neglected the subject children
inasmuch as she "failed substantially and continuously
or repeatedly to . . . plan for the future of the child[ren]
although . . . able to do so" (Star Leslie W.,
63 N.Y.2d at 142; see Matter of Justin Henry B., 21
A.D.3d 369, 370). " [T]o plan for the future of the
child' shall mean to take such steps as may be necessary
to provide an adequate, stable home and parental care for the
child" (Social Services Law § 384-b  [c]).
"At a minimum, parents must take steps to correct the
conditions that led to the removal of the child[ren] from
their home' " (Matter of Nathaniel T., 67
N.Y.2d 838, 840; see Matter of Crystal Q., 173
A.D.2d 912, 913, lv denied 78 N.Y.2d 855). Here, "there
is no evidence that [the mother] had a realistic plan to
provide an adequate and stable home for the child[ren]"
(Matter of Saiah Isaiah C. [Tanisha C.], 144 A.D.3d
585, 586; see Matter of Micah Zyair F.W. [Tiffany
L.], 110 A.D.3d 579, 579).
we reject the mother's contention that the court erred in
denying her request for a suspended judgment. The court
concluded, inter alia, that there was little chance that the
mother could continue to control her addictions or gain
insight into how her choices were impacting the children, and
" [t]he court's assessment that [the mother] was not
likely to change [her] behavior is entitled to great
deference' " (Matter of Tiara B. [Torrance
B.],70 A.D.3d 1307, 1308, lv denied 14 N.Y.3d 709; see
Matter of Jane H. [Susan H.],85 A.D.3d 1586, 1587,
lv denied 17 N.Y.3d 709; Matter of Philip D., 266
A.D.2d 909, 909). Consequently, the court properly determined
that " [f]reeing the child[ren] for adoption provided
[them] with prospects for permanency and some sense of the
stability [they] deserved, ...